Weaning is the gradual process of moving away from breast-milk and introducing the baby to a wide range of other foods. The baby graduates from liquid to semi-liquid to solid foods over a period of 2 years. This should be started when the baby is around 6 months old. Your baby is ready if your baby can:
- stay in a sitting position and are able to hold their head steady
- coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth, can look at food, grab it, and put it in their mouths all by themselves
- swallow their food. Babies who are not ready will often push their food back out, so get more around their faces than they do in their mouths
Stage 1: 6+ monthsYou can start by introducing small quantities of cow’s milk, curd/yogurt, mashed paneer (cheese) to the baby. Supplement breast milk with undiluted cow’s milk, buffalo’s milk, mother dairy milk or whichever is easily available. Babies need to be fed frequently. The key thing to remember is that all solids need to be mashed or in the semi-liquid form. You should add a little salt or sugar so that the baby develops a taste and liking for the food. Babies will also enjoy:
- Fruits, vegetables & Cereals
- Fruits like mashed banana, apple, mango, papaya
- Boiled & mashed vegetables, washed dals, khichdi etc.
- Boiled & mashed potato, sooji, daliya, sabutdana, rice
- Vegetable purees – carrot, sweet-potato, beans etc.
- Oats and cereals. Avoid very high fiber foods
- Cooked eggs (egg yolk only)
- Unpasteurized, mold-ripened soft cheeses
- Sugary foods and drinks – esp outside food like ice creams, fizzy-drinks etc.
Stage 2: 9-12 monthsIt’s around this time that your baby will develop and perfect their pincer grip, the ability to pick something up between their thumb and forefinger. It’s a good time to start to introduce finger foods.
- Chunks or slices of boiled carrot, potato etc
- Pieces of banana or melon
- Strips of lightly buttered toast
- Plain rice cakes
- Unsalted bread sticks
- Chunks of apple, papaya or pear
- Slices of cucumber or avocado
- Cooked pasta shapes
- Pieces of cooked meat & chicken
Stage 3: After 1 Year
- Continue breast feeds
- Fresh milk (includes curd) 400 – 500 ml/day
- Banana OR any other seasonal soft fruit
- Sooji/Sago/Dalia/Sevian in milk (thick) – about 3/4 cup
- Khichdi (semisolid consistency) or rice Dal – about 3/4 cup
- Potato + any other vegetable as desired
- Dairy products: whole cow’s milk may be now used as a drink
- Starchy foods: three to four servings a day of starchy food such as potatoes, bread and rice
- Vegetable and fruits – about three servings a day
Important PrecautionsFor preparation of feed for baby
- Use only clean utensils
- Use prepared feed within half an hour
- Discard unused feed
Frequency of feedingChildren have to be fed frequently since they can eat small amount at a time due to their little capacity.
- Till 5-6 months: Child is given breast feeds on demand i.e. 9-10 times over 24 hours.
- From 6- 8 months: As the child grows, his requirements increase and he starts to accept larger volume and thicker consistency at a time- feed 7-8 times/day
- From 9- 12 months: Child normally eats 6-7 times per day
- By 12 – 18 months: Child eats at least 6 times per day
- By 24 months: Child’s eating schedule of 5-6 times /day gets fixed
- 3 regular meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
- 3 in-between healthy snacks: Mid-morning (recess time), Evening at 4:30 – 5 PM and Bedtime.
- After 2 years, the child can eat the same food as the rest of the family – with some changes in consistency (softness) of food.
Some meals suggestionsBreakfast
- Rice Kheer
- Sooji halwa/upma
- Boiled egg and buttered bread toast
- Mashed banana with milk
- Spinach curry and tomato soup
- Mashed rice with yogurt/curds
- Mixed seasonal vegetable soup (carrot, spinach, tomato etc.)
- Stewed fruits with custard
- Same as lunch and also anything like pasta, chicken, paratha with stuffed vegetables
OFFER THE CHILD WHAT YOU THINK IS NUTRITIOUS BUT LET THE CHILD DECIDE HE/SHE WANTS TO EAT. DO NOT FORCE FEED.
Note: Babies can digest yellow/orange vegetables more easily than green vegetables initially
This is strictly a guide, let your baby’s appetite determine how much you feed at each meal